With the expanding enrollment at the University during the 1950's and 1960's Southeast began to outgrow Memorial Hall, the former student union. Early in the 1960's discussion began which would eventually lead to a new student union. The first real step toward a new student union was taken in May of 1963, when students voted by a 5 to 1 margin to assess themselves a $5 fee per semester to fund a new student union.
The problems associated with federal funding delayed the planning of the new student union until 1969. That same year, a committee composed of students, faculty, and staff was established to begin the cumbersome task of planning all of the necessary groundwork for the new student union. Two years later, in 1971, the University secured the services of the Pearce Corporation to design the building. In December of 1971, the University selected a site at the southeast corner of Normal and North Henderson streets.
In the summer of 1973, construction of the yet unnamed student union was underway. After many months of work, the student union officially became the University Center. It was not until the fall semester of 1975 that the building officially opened. The building that we have today is somewhat different from the building the students of 1975 encountered, and it continues to evolve to meet the ever-changing needs of our students and community.
Southeast students who enjoy the University Center today should be very thankful to the thousands of students who for twelve years paid a fee for a student union they knew they would not see, but that future students continue to enjoy.